The Fire Inside

Bob Seger’s elder statesman-like approach to recording seems to work out fine for him. Every three to five years he produces a record; it goes multiplatinum; he rests. But is this 46-year-old selling us short? His latest, The Fire Inside, is constructed almost exactly like the other three studio albums he has deigned to release since the deserved success of Night Moves (1976) and Stranger in Town (1978). There are a couple of rugged epics of heartland poesy (”The Fire Inside,” ”Real at the Time”), a clichéd ballad for a barroom slow dance (”The Long Way Home”), and aimless rock filler (”Which Way,” ”She Can’t Do Anything Wrong”). The single, ”The Real Love,” is rather pallid, lacking even the bluster of Seger’s not-up-to-par 1986 hit anthem, ”American Storm.” One thing that does set The Fire Inside apart are an unprecedented three covers, a sign perhaps that Seger can’t rely on his own songwriting anymore. The best thing on the album, in fact, is almost a novelty — a jazzy, languid take on Tom Waits’ ”New Coat of Paint.” The other two covers are a wash, though; they’re as colorless as Seger’s originals. Even recording other people’s songs can’t get Bob Seger out of his rut. C

The Fire Inside
  • Music